Wearing face masks is now part of the new normal. Studies have shown that wearing face masks offers significant protection from COVID-19. Most face masks work by preventing COVID-19 positive and asymptomatic carriers from spreading the coronavirus to others.
So, all you need to do is don your face mask, especially when going outdoors, and you’re all set, right?
Wearing a face mask may seem as simple as ABC, but it isn't. There are specific dos and don’ts people need to be mindful of to effectively stem the spread of COVID-19.
Face Mask-Wearing Dos
To protect yourself and others from the new coronavirus, you need to observe the following dos of wearing face masks:
1. Do wear your mask with clean hands.
Hand hygiene is one of the most important habits that have been proven to kill and prevent the spread of germs (fungi, bacteria, and viruses). Before putting on your face mask, wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Dry your hands with a clean towel and then put on a clean mask, handling it only by the ear loops.
2. Do wear a mask that covers your nose, mouth and chin.
Your goal of wearing a mask is to ensure you are adequately protected from airborne particles that can enter the body via the nose or mouth. So if you don’t wear your mask all the way to your nose and chin, you’re not using it correctly. If your mask features a nose wire, make sure you mould the wire over your nose bridge for a snug fit.
3. Do clean or sanitise reusable face masks after wearing them.
No matter how briefly you wear your reusable face mask, you have to wash it with detergent or hot soapy water afterwards. When you’re done laundering your mask, hang it out to dry in the sun to kill any leftover germs. Keep your clean face masks in an airtight bag to keep them sanitary.
Face Mask-Wearing Don’ts
Aside from observing proper mask-wearing behaviour, make sure to remember the following don’ts as well:
1. Don’t touch your face mask when you have it on.
Avoid unnecessarily touching your face mask — constantly adjusting it could give germs a chance to gain entry. When your hands are contaminated, some of the germs could be transferred to your mask and your face. Remember that the coronavirus can enter through the eyes as well, so don’t risk it.
2. Don’t take off your face mask while out in public.
Other than eating or drinking, there is no excuse for taking your face mask off while you’re outside. If you must, make sure you practise proper physical distancing. Sanitise your hands before putting your face mask back on by the loops.
3. Don’t reuse disposable face masks.
Disposable face masks are made to be worn for a maximum of around four hours. Dispose of them properly in trash dedicated for medical waste after use.
Also, avoid using masks made of loosely woven material, such as mesh and crocheted masks, as these do not protect you from germs. Instead, choose reusable masks that are tightly woven or feature several layers, such as Fevermates’ middle-fold designer masks.
Remember that your face mask is only for your own use, so don’t share it with others even when it is clean.
4. Don’t wear a face mask in places where it will get wet.
If you’re going out to swim or to run, don’t wear a face mask that’s not designed for such activities. Swimming or perspiring from running will lead to your face mask becoming damp. It will also be difficult to breathe while doing these strenuous activities.
Instead, practise physical distancing and exercise out in the open or a well-ventilated place. You may also purchase specialised sports masks with filters and made with a breathable material such as cotton, linen or silk.
It’s easy enough to wear a face mask, but you also need to observe these dos and don’ts for everyone’s protection.